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He v. Waterloo Standard Condominium Corporation No. 541 - 2020 ONCAT 34 - 2020-09-22

Corporation:

HWSCC 541

Date:

2020-09-22

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Access to Records
Entitlement to Records
Fees, Costs, Penalties

Summary:

In this case, the Applicant requested certain non-core records from the Respondent, Waterloo Standard Condominium Corporation No 541. The Respondent offered redacted minutes and provided a cost estimate for producing the records, but the Applicant insisted on obtaining un-redacted minutes without paying the cost. The Applicant's requests included records related to allegations of soiling a sauna, violations of rules, and de-activation of key fobs. The Tribunal found that the Respondent was allowed to redact records due to contemplated litigation and charge a fee for non-core records, but the proposed fee was deemed unreasonable. The Applicant's other relief sought was deemed beyond the Tribunal's jurisdiction. No penalties or costs were awarded.

Verdict:

The tribunal ruled in favor of the condominium corporation, stating that they were entitled to redact records due to contemplated litigation and charge a fee for non-core records. However, the proposed fee was deemed unreasonable. The applicant's relief sought beyond the tribunal's jurisdiction, resulting in no penalties or costs being awarded. Therefore, the lesson to take away from this case is that in a records request, the condominium corporation has the right to redact records and charge a fee, but the fee must be reasonable, and some relief sought may be beyond the tribunal's jurisdiction.

Takeaways:

Redacted records: The condominium corporation was entitled to redact records due to contemplated litigation. The applicant requested un-redacted minutes, but the tribunal confirmed that the respondent had the right to offer redacted minutes.

Fees for non-core records: The condominium corporation proposed a fee of $380 for producing non-core records. However, the tribunal deemed this fee unreasonable, indicating that the applicant should not be required to pay such a high cost.

Beyond tribunal's jurisdiction: Some of the relief sought by the applicant, such as re-activation of key fobs, dismissal of legal letters, and addressing missing minutes, exceeded the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The tribunal's jurisdiction was limited to records under Section 55 of the Condominium Act 1998.

Limited penalties and costs: No penalties or costs were awarded in this case. The tribunal did not find any grounds for imposing penalties or awarding costs to either party.

Recommendations: 

Clarify fee structure: The tribunal found the proposed fee of $380 for producing non-core records to be unreasonable. It is recommended that the condominium corporation re-evaluates their fee structure and makes it more transparent and reasonable for future records requests. This will help ensure that unit owners are not burdened with excessive costs when requesting access to records.

Provide clear communication on redacted records: The tribunal ruled in favor of the condominium corporation's right to redact records due to contemplated litigation. It is recommended that the corporation improve their communication with unit owners regarding redacted records. Clear explanations and justifications should be provided to help owners understand why certain information is being withheld.

Educate applicants on tribunal's jurisdiction: Many of the relief sought by the applicant in this case were beyond the jurisdiction of the tribunal. It is recommended that the tribunal, along with the condominium authority, provide clearer guidance and education to applicants regarding the specific jurisdictional limits of the tribunal. This will help avoid unnecessary disputes and ensure that applicants understand the scope of the tribunal's authority in addressing their concerns.

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